Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Jingle Belles - The 2017 Xmas Compilation

What a year. We say that at the end of every year, right? But this year? What a year.   

I won't bore you with the details of mine. They will either make you incredibly jealous or incredibly happy, depending on how you view despair, joy, loneliness, creativity, major life changes, foreign customs, and the endless vigilance needed to break old habits. Which, when you get to be my age, are the only habits you have. And while that doesn't necessarily make them old friends, it does make them boone companions. (That's not a typo--that's boone, as in Aaron Fucking.)

And it looks like the one companion we all share this Christmas, the one who's running the show wherever you look, is the grubby little brat whom the Ghost of Christmas Present warned us about: ignorance. His influence is everywhere. The country is being run by venal little Scrooges who will not listen to any ghost who doesn't pay them off, or whom they can't pay off to shut up. The North Pole is becoming a swimming pool. California is starring in an annual remake of The Burning Season. And we're maybe only a couple of years away from a category 6 hurricane. Joy to the world, he said sarcastically. But then he snorted a little harrumph and added, "And that's exactly what we need, joy. That's the best weapon we have. Along with love and laughter. And music."

As I said to a non-blood brother a couple of days ago, I almost didn't do a Xmas music compilation this year, because my heart wasn't in it, because that hard-to-shut-up negative voice in me kept saying "Nobody will care," and because all things come to an end, even traditions. (It's been that kind of year.) But at the end of last week I thought, "Okay, so your heart's not in it; but I bet it will be when you start doing it. And don't be stupid, there are people out there who care about this. And what the hell, why not do a compilation? You've got 15 years of music to choose from, and you've never repeated a track in all that time, so how about something that celebrates that, as well as the holiday?" And two seconds later a voice in my head added: "And given what a hell of a year this has been, make it all female singers."

So here it is. The only male voices show up on a couple of tracks as backup and harmony, or (on the Bonus Track) on the bridge (a traditional male preserve both nautically and musically).

The world is a dark place in the winter. Light it up whenever you can. Sing out loud as you walk down the street. Smile at a stranger. We're all in the same boat, even the snooty first-class passengers who would let the folks in steerage sink if they can't swim. They'd love to turn that boat into the Titanic; but we'll do our best to make it live up to its real name: the Constitution.

Haddy Grimble, everybody.

Jingle Belles - The 2017 Xmas Compilation

1   2000 Miles   The Pretenders
2   Winter Song     Sara Barielles and Ingrid Michaelson
3   Christmas Day      Dido
4   River            Joni Mitchell
5   Love is Christmas    Sara Barielles
6   Rudy    Be Good Tanyas
7   Ten Tubas    The Professor and Mary Ann
8   The Heartache Can Wait        Brandi Carlile
9   Silver Belles and Sweet Farewells Wendy Colonna
10  (I’m Always Touched by Your) Presents, Dear       Syd Straw
11  Darling (Christmas Is Coming)        Over The Rhine
12  Unwrap Me    Saint Etienne
13  Up On The Housetop    Reba McEntire
14  Rockin’ Little Christmas        Carlene Carter
15  The Christmas Twist     Syd Straw
16  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)       Darlene Love
17  (Don’t Call Me) Mrs. Christmas         Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler
18  Not Tonight Santa          Girls Aloud
19  Underneath The Tree   Kelly Clarkson
20  I Did It For The Toys    Dance Hall Crashers
21  Because I’m Santa           The Dollyrots
22  Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me    The Love-Me-Nots
23  Baby It’s Christmas         Bananarama
24  Christmas In The City  Elizabeth Chan
25  Christmas Wrapping     The Waitresses
26  Merry Christmas From the Family    Jill Sobule
27  Christmas with Fat Aunt Bette      Andrea Perry
28  Little Drummer Boy     Joan Jett
29  I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus        Amy Winehouse
30  I Saw Mommy Biting Santa Claus.    The Dollyrots
31  Zombie Christmas           Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler
32  Black Christmas   Poly Styrene
33  Maybe This Christmas  Leigh Nash
34  My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year)    Regina Spektor
35  Bonus Track

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Month of Couplets - November 2017


November 2017 Couplets


Let's be Republicans!--And hem and haw

Until we overthrow the rule of law!


Loneliness terrifies me because I'm with

Someone I can't stand to spend any time with.


Let's be Republicans!--And smugly blame

What we burn up for triggering the flame!


My bad romances are the children of

A needy dad and moms who feel no love.


Because my heart's an alcoholic souse,

It guzzles love and blacks out playing house.


Let's be Republicans!--And always battle

To make sure men can treat women like cattle!


Just body parts won't start my carnal car--

It's all about whose body parts they are.


Let's be Republicans!--And bravely fight

To make this country bigoted and white!


Between the ignorance and the mendacity

Our leaders put the ass in incapacity.


An ounce of hope lifts despair's ton of pressure

And one kind act's the stone that breaks Hate's thresher.


              Two Ideas Of Love

His heart believed her love could validate him;

His insecurity's what made her hate him.


One kind of love always ends in rejection:

Mistaking affectation for affection.


Never give up--but let surrender be

The way your spirit fights for victory.


Let's be Republicans!--And talk the talk!

And then go backwards every time we walk!


If wanting was enough, I'd be a saint;

But that takes love, self-knowledge, and restraint.


What justifies our political lust?

This motto: In Rich White Male God We Trust.


May my life always be a meal that feeds

Not what my journey wants, but what it needs.


When false friends talk behind my back, why curse?

If they knew ALL my flaws, they'd say much worse.


My lower self looks for a pit to fall in;

My higher self, a prospect to stand tall in.


Everything that we get in life's a loan.

Why cling to things that we can never own?



My country is an uncivilization.


Now is not then and will not ever be.

Let it go--it's one sure way to be free.


My life's been gifts and blessings by the tank-full.

I give thanks that I'm still here to feel thankful.


Joy's flowers are all watered by my tears;

My courage is the daughter of my fears.


Ask me my flaws--I'll tell you ten at once.

Ask me my gifts--I stammer like a dunce.


Bad decisions teach me how not to fail

Like storms at sea help me learn how to sail.


All sins can be forgiven--except one:

Using The Bible like a Gatling gun.


The ego: "Seek revenge for every hurt!"

The heart: "Treat foes like flowers, not like dirt."


The present is a diet of fresh meat

But it's the past's stale leftovers I eat.


Each time I undertake a plan of action

My monkey brain gets dazzled by distraction.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, October 9, 2017

The World

The world says that I have to pay attention
   To what it says must occupy my mind.
I have to be a cog in its convention
   Of relevance, or else I’m unrefined.
The world says that it is the arbiter
   Of what I should be seeing—doing—wearing—
For my own good. And so I must concur.
   If not, then I deserve to be despairing.
The world says that what it says matters more
   Than anything I say—and its approval
Is all I need to get me past Fame’s door.
   Without it, bouncers see to my removal.
      The world says I must give each waking thought
      To what it calls important—or I’m not.

They say the world will come to you if you
   Just keep doing the work, but that’s a lie.
It only comes when brought by someone who
   Sees something in it that he wants to buy.
They say the world will always notice talent,
   But talent is defined as flattery.
Sing the world’s praises; it will call you gallant
   And stay blind to your mediocrity.
They say the world will recognize great art,
   But that’s the greatest fiction of them all.
Works that have brilliance, vision, style and heart
   Are chaff if not sold at the shopping mall.
      They say the world decrees where worth begins—
      And every time we buy that, the world wins.

The world wins when it says "I am the one
   Who brands you with the tattoo of success.
You cannot shine unless it is my sun.
   Without my label, all is worthlessness."
The world wins when we say that we define
   Our own success, since that means we’re conceding
We’ve failed at the world’s game, and get to dine
   On our own praises, which is special pleading.
The world wins every time we factor in
   The world to an equation. It’s a term
Whose value changes what we’ve done or been
   Into an either or: winner or worm.
      The world wins when we seek out its affection—
      And wins big when we give it our rejection.

Rejecting the world means that we still care
   Enough about it to defend our work
Against its disapproval—its unfair
   Ignorance—its supercilious smirk.
Rejecting the world means we tried to win it
   Over to us, and then cried “Sour grapes!”
Because it wouldn’t give us half a minute,
   We bitch it out for days with gripes and japes.
Rejection feeds the world’s great vanity,
   For hatred’s just a hotter kind of loving.
Beneath its heat, it says you want to be
   Embraced and welcomed by the one you’re shoving.
      It doesn’t want her gone—it wants her sweet.
      Which makes rejection yearning in defeat.

The world can’t lose because the game is rigged
   To either make it win or make you fail.
It poisons every toast you’ve ever swigged.
   (I swear to God, it’s like the world is male.)
The world can’t lose because it is the court
   And judge and jury where worth’s law is passed—
That puts your name on Time’s final report
   And then rules whether you will fade or last.
The world can’t lose unless you just don’t give
   A shit what it thinks. Takes a special soul
To care so little for applause, and live
   Without what others cling to, and be whole.
      The world can’t lose unless, for all you love it,
      You vow always to be in it—not of it.

The world is everything, for those who look
   For someone else to tell them all the answers.
“Here’s the great movie!” “There’s the must-read book!”
   “That company may move, but they’re no dancers.”
The world is everything a vampire is—
   It needs your blood to live; it fills your head
With hungry dreams and condescension’s fizz;
   Then leaves you soulless, brainwashed, and undead.
The world is everything you’ve ever wanted—
   State-sanctioned virtue, tolerated vice,
The lure of fame whose absence leaves you haunted—
   And all you have to do is pay its price:
      Be the world’s champion, not its accuser—
      And then call anyone who is, a loser.

The world is just, or so it likes to think,
   And fair the way society is fair:
It serves the Ins a complimentary drink
   While telling all the Outs “I just don’t care.”
The world is just too proud to be disgraced
   Whenever someone says it might be biased.
It claims it’s just coincidence its taste
   Runs to the straightest, whitest, and the guyest.
The world is just another inner voice
   That tells us all the things we cannot do—
Praises us when we choose to give up choice
   And swears it’s champagne when we swig its brew.
      The world is just a low voice from on high
      That will praise nothing it can’t profit by.

The world is nothing more than a collection
   Of self-sustaining myths. It’s like a church.
Give it your worship; it gives you protection.
   Deny it; it will leave you in the lurch.
The world is nothing but an elevator—
   Once you’re in, upper floors are all you’ll see.
It guards the penthouse like it’s Joy’s dictator,
   Crying: “You must find happiness through me!”
The world is nothing less than a machine
   I have no control over, so why should
I think its ignorance of me is mean
   Or meant? Or that its praise of me is good?
      Why look for vision in what cannot see
      And always puts the vain in vainglory?

“The world is ours!” successful people cry.
   But they don’t ever own it—it owns them.
Its praise—and not their gifts—put them on high,
   And what it raises up, it can condemn.
The world is yours to do with as it pleases,
   But only when you choose to give it power.
And when it does deliver on its teases
   And kisses you, the aftertaste is sour.
The world is mine, when I can say to it
   “You don’t own me!” and mean it—every word—
Do what I will, not what it will permit—
   And be untroubled, not a fountain stirred,
      Each time the world thinks of new ways to fool me
      Into believing that its standards rule me.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Anthill Blues

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Month of Couplets - September 2017

From The Daily Couplet:


The new is tar in which my thoughts will sink.
Boring routines will give me space to think.

Walk out of any room where there's no love
And write a tale that you're the hero of.


If I loved myself half as much as I
Love the unworthy, oh, how high I'd fly!


Safety is knowing what you'll do for weeks.
Adventure never sees beyond your cheeks.


The door I fear to open guards a room
Of terrible rewards, not pain and doom.


I love the new, but it's the same old game:
When strangeness beckons, I reach for the same.


In all of history, no one's been you.
Don't waste that doing what the rest can do.


You always know who misses you the most:
The great reach out; the rest fade like a ghost.


Want to make haters feel incompetent?
Treat all their insults like a compliment.


Anger congests us till we fume and sputter.
Forgiveness cleans out all that nasty clutter.


Those born to a belief may be dogmatic
But converts live their creed like a fanatic.


Escape in fiction gets looked down on by
The jailers who say all art must be high.


Fear whispers--my soul sinks beneath the floor.
But just a breath of hope can make it soar.


The more we feed the hate of push and shove,
The less we listen to the voice of love.


(After Blaise Pascal)

All mankind's woes are meat on this one bone:
We can't sit quiet in a room alone.


Compassion weaves when heartless cuts the cord.
When hate is king, love is the rebel's sword.


It's only when I'm all alone and free
That I feel like I'm in bad company.


When my corrupted drives are all cleaned out,
There's still the back-up server of self-doubt.


The things that hurt us most we'll call a treasure
And let them kill us--if they give us pleasure.


It's Life when every answer to our cries
Is just another question in disguise.


It's all about what solitude can teach us
And those who care enough to try to reach us.


Shame is a cannibal--it always eats
Itself, till you're weighed down by your defeats.


Speak tolerance to hate--he never hears it
Because it's loving, and because he fears it.


Power responds to rebels with complaints
By killing them—then making them its saints.


Never tell narcissists that you adore them--
Because it's what they want to hear, you'll bore them.


The high road will become your status quo
When you ditch those who make you take the low.


Fools take for granted their deep friends' ovation
And fish the shallows for appreciation.


The hardest things in life to let go of
Are those that cling to my lack of self-love.


Obey this sign and lift depression's fog:


The world says I must give each waking thought
To what it calls "important"--or I'm not.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells